Federer, Nadal to head star-studded flood relief event

Thursday, January 13, 2011

MELBOURNE - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are to head an all-star lineup Sunday as the tennis world stages a fund-raiser for the Queensland flood victims.

Federer, who led a charity day for Haiti earthquake victims a year ago at Melbourne Park before the start of the Grand Slam, took charge again and rallied his fellow players to the cause.

Joining the men’s top two will be women’s third seed Kim Clijsters, Brisbane-born Sam Stosur and Adelaide’s Lleyton Hewitt, world number three Novak Djokovic, and former great and Queenslander Pat Rafter, Australian Davis Cup captain.

The Rally for Relief matches at the Rod Laver arena came about quickly as the enormity of the Queensland floods became apparent this week.

“Along with many of the other players I was moved by the devastation caused by the floods in Australia,” said second seed Federer.

“We just wanted to do something to help aid the recovery because we know there are thousands of Australians who will continue to suffer as a result of this disaster.”

Top seed Nadal added: “This is a terrible tragedy, not only the loss of life but the destruction of people’s homes. I am pleased to be able to contribute in some way to help bring it to the attention of the world and raise some money for the victims in the process.”

Hewitt said that “as an Australian I cannot help but be touched by such an awful turn of events. It is a disaster on a massive scale.”

“Australians are incredible at pulling together in times of crisis and this is certainly one of those times,” he said. “If the tennis community can also help play a role in the recovery then we should, both in Australia and internationally. I just think at a time like this it is a case of getting all hands on deck.”

Rafter and Stosur officially announced the charity initiative in Sydney at the Medibank International ATP-WTA event.

Stosur said she was touched by the many expressions of concern for the flood victims from her fellow tennis professionals, officials, administrators, coaches and fans. Her own family was displaced by floods in the 1980s and she is keen to contribute to the cause.

“A lot of us just want to make some sort of contribution. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to thousands of people in these floods,” she said.

“I am rapt that the biggest names in our sport are so keen to focus on this despite the fact that the Australian Open starts the next day.”

Stosur is already donating 100 dollars for every ace she serves this summer. Last week’s Brisbane ATP finalist Andy Roddick donated 200 dollars for each of his more than 50 aces struck at that event.

In addition to 20-dollar tickets for the Sunday exhibition, the ATP and WTA will pledge 10 dollars for every ace served by players at the Brisbane International, Medibank International Sydney, Moorilla International in Hobart tuneup events plus the Open, with all proceeds going to flood relief.

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